Videoconferencing, Video Mail, IVR and Mobile Services Provided by iPBX Technology

Introduction
Private branch exchange (PBX) systems have traditionally connected private enterprises to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) using circuit-switched communications. iPBX (or IP PBX) systems, which use the Internet Protocol (IP) to carry calls over packet-switched networks, have become increasingly popular in recent years. iPBXs account for a significant majority of current annual PBX installations. IP based private branch exchange systems are projected to further dominate the videoconferencing, video mail, IVR and mobile markets in the coming years.

Evolution of PBX Architecture
Phase 1: Traditional PBX In the first stage of PBX evolution, traditional PBX systems connected time-division multiplexing (TDM) equipment and phones only to the circuit-switched PSTN network. Initially deployed to achieve substantial cost savings on intra-enterprise phone calls, PBXs became more popular after offering a wide variety of services unavailable in the operator network including call forwarding, extension dialing, auto dialing, and call waiting.

Phase 2: VoIP+PBX In the second phase of the PBX evolution, enterprises typically added a voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateway to operate along side the existing circuit-switched PBX. The new VoIP gateway enabled packet-switched communications between the enterprise and IP network, while the previously deployed PBX continued to support traditional circuit-switched communications. In this phase, VoIP was the main service added to those services already offered in the first PBX phase, and was typically adopted to reduce the enterprise's communication costs. Phase 3: Hybrid iPBX The third phase of PBX architecture development introduced the hybrid iPBX systems that are predominantly IP in nature, but still support circuit-switched communications to the PSTN. This phase represents the current status of the PBX evolution, and most iPBX systems Surf Communication Solutions, Ltd. ▪ Tavor Building ▪ P.O. Box 343 ▪ Yokne'am 20692 ▪ Israel
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Multimedia iPBX: Moving Beyond Voice Services

sold today are in fact hybrid, rather than all-IP, systems. Another major current trend is the adoption of open-source iPBX solutions such as Asterisk®, a leading open-source telephony engine and tool kit. Phase 4: Multimedia iPBX The next phase of PBX development can be called "multimedia iPBX." In this phase, advanced iPBX systems will empower a wide range of attractive multimedia services and applications such as videoconferencing, video mail, IVR and mobile services. Before we fully examine the architecture of multimedia iPBX, we will review a number of key multimedia service scenarios enabled by iPBX.

Multimedia User-Experience Scenarios
Scenario #1: Videoconferencing The CTO has a new idea for a product and wants to receive quick feedback from various colleagues. He invites selected local managers into the conference room for an impromptu meeting. Participants then decide to establish an immediate off-site videoconferencing session with the chief design engineer, who is located at a different office, and the VP of sales, who is reached on his mobile phone sitting on a bench at the train station. Videoconferencing represents the use of audio and video telecommunications to enable real-time meetings among numerous participants at different locations. Videoconference meetings can range from simple conversations between two or more people at two locations (point-to-point), to complex conferences connecting multiple users at multiple locations (multi-point). Until now, videoconferencing required utilization of dedicated, identical and expensive videoconferencing equipment at each location. Preplanning of each conference was required due to the equipment set up requirements prior to each session. Now, it is possible to avoid these drawbacks and create a multi-purpose, high-quality and inexpensive videoconferencing system, as part of an IP-based enterprise telephony system. The iPBX can serve as a videoconferencing bridge simply by adding video capabilities to the existing PBX.

Scenario #2: Interactive Voice and Video Response (IVVR)
A paramedic is tending to an injured driver at the scene of a traffic accident. Prior to administering aid or transferring the patient, he decides to consult with medical staff in the hospital emergency room. He uses his mobile phone to call the hospital and reaches its IVVR portal, a pre-programmed, interactive directory is used for direct calls within the organization. The paramedic chooses the option to consult with a specialist and switches to video mode. He then uses the camera on his mobile phone to relay visual information about the patient’s injuries, and receives instructions from the specialist. After entering the ambulance, he then navigates back within the IVVR portal to the emergency room to

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Multimedia iPBX: Moving Beyond Voice Services

update the receptionist with their estimated time of arrival. IP-based IVVR systems streamline calls to enhance the customer experience and reduce costs associated with human agents and large call volumes. Voice-only IVR is migrating to video-enabled IVVR now that a critical mass of video-ready mobile handsets are on the market, and operators are increasingly appreciating the improved user experience and new revenue opportunities offered by video. Common IVVR applications include contact centers (e.g. telephone banking, credit-card transactions, reservation systems), televoting for TV programs, mobile and landline content ordering (e.g. games, ringtones, weather forecasts, adult entertainment), and organizational portals.

Scenario #3: Video mail
Enterprises typically update their employees regarding company activities via periodic onsite meetings. The larger the company the more difficult it is to arrange meetings with 100% attendance due to, off-site meetings, vacations and sick days. Using video mail, the company can ensure that the content of such meetings will reach all employees and remain easily accessible. The live meeting is recorded with a standard video camera or webcam, with the resulting file stored on the network. Employees who were not present at the meeting, or those in attendance who want to review certain parts of the presentation, receive the video clip as a video mail directly to their computer or mobile phone. Video mail, which is an extension of voicemail or email with an added video dimension, can be sent to recipients' desktops or mobile handsets. From the sender's perspective, video mail enables a new level of rich-media content and personalization. From the recipient's perspective, it ensures that messages will never be lost and allows convenient viewing of received video clips. From the enterprise perspective, video mail represents another channel for effective intra-organizational communications. From the service provider perspective, video mail creates additional revenue streams via increased service adoption and new advertising opportunities. Given the growing penetration of broadband Internet access, mobile Internet and video-enabled handsets, video mail is expected to become increasingly prevalent in the coming years.

Multimedia iPBX Architecture Design
Multimedia iPBX systems introduce a new set of functionality to leverage IP capabilities and enhance productivity. Their goal is to enable easier and enriched communications while keeping costs at a minimum. When designing an advanced iPBX, telecom equipment manufacturers require converged multimedia communications, multiple network bridges, and support for a variety of user terminals (3G, IP, PSTN), as well as back-office integration for easier access and management.

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Multimedia iPBX: Moving Beyond Voice Services

Additional Multimedia Services
As depicted by the aforementioned user-experience scenarios, multimedia iPBX empowers an array of compelling services that go well beyond traditional voice services. Additional key multimedia services that can be offered over multimedia iPBX include: Dual-Mode Handset Many current mobile phones are equipped with dual-mode operations, allowing them to function on both cellular and IP networks. An iPBX can be used to capitalize on this dual functionality and reduce intra-organizational communication costs. In addition to supporting standard IP codecs such as G.711 and G.729, an iPBX can support cellular codecs such as AMR and EVRC. As a result, employees can operate their mobile phones like a WiFi device within the enterprise via the internal network, saving on cellular connection charges. The support and transition to mobile mode is seamless, so no change in usage habits is required. Secure Voice The American National Security Association (NSA) has adopted the IP-based V.150.1 ITU protocol to ensure secure voice communications among government intelligence agencies. Recently, several leading manufacturers have commenced production of telephone sets for internal use that incorporate this protocol in order to transport secure voice traffic. For the V.150.1 protocol to function, the PBX must serve as a gateway between the PSTN and IP network. iPBX architecture allows the inclusion of the gateway component within the PBX framework, thereby streamlining the solution and reducing maintenance costs.

Multimedia iPBX Extensions
Manufacturers of multimedia iPBXs require high-density, low-cost and scalable multimedia extensions that can be easily integrated into their systems. Surf Communication Solutions offers media processing solutions that enable multimedia convergence while supporting an easy migration path from voice to video. SurfExpress/PCIeTM Media Processing Solution SurfExpress/PCIe is a modular PCI Express form factor DSP resource board for flexible yet heavyduty enterprise-grade multimedia processing. The board features a highly innovative patent-pending design featuring the SurfDocker™ plug-in, allowing it to carry up to four pairs of DSPs for a total of eight DSPs per board. Providing 2 Gbit Ethernet ports and a CT bus for additional TDM interfaces, SurfExpress/PCIe is designed to meet the requirements of VoIP enterprise-scale media servers, iPBXs, media gateways, 3G-324M video servers, MMSC content adaptation engines, and CTI applications.
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Multimedia iPBX: Moving Beyond Voice Services

Surf DSP-Level Media Processing Solutions The Surf DSP-level family leverages Texas Instruments' C64xTM DSP generation, and includes Surf DSP-12/24/82 based on TI’s TMS320C6412/24/82, respectively. Featuring cost-effective unmatched processing power of varying densities (depending on the DSP model) and Surf's patent-pending Open Framework design, the family allows seamless integration of user-defined and proprietary algorithms. Each member of the Surf DSP family provides a powerful, yet flexible computing environment for telecom infrastructure equipment developers.

About the Author
Avi Fisher, CTO, Director and co-founder of Surf Communication Solutions, maintains extensive expertise in digital signal processing, embedded software and system architecture. Author of several patents, he was the first contributor to the ITU V.150.1 standard for the relay of modem signals over IP. Avi Fisher holds a B.Sc. summa cum laude and an M.Sc. from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

About Surf Communication Solutions
Surf Communication Solutions provides media-processing solutions that enable convergence of voice, video and data across wireline and wireless networks. Surf’s solutions are predominantly utilized by media gateway developers, media server developers and IMS equipment manufacturers in the telecommunication infrastructure field to significantly reduce time to market. For more information, visit www.surf-com.com.

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